A complicated start to the year for paper production in France, which is suffering from the decline in household consumption, a wait-and-see attitude in the face of inflation that is not abating and a sharp drop in order books. According to the results delivered by Copacel, in January, French paper and board production fell by 20.3% compared to the same period in 2022. It stands at 515,000 t vs 646,200 t. Virtually all paper grades plunged: – 37% for graphic papers; – 19.1% for packaging papers (- 17.1% for corrugated base materials, – 27.6% for flexible packaging papers and – 27.5% for cartonboard). Only hygiene papers remained in the black with production of 73,100 t (+ 1% vs. January 2022).
The same downward trend was seen in pulp production, which fell by 24% to 106,400 t. As for consumption of recycled paper & board, it stands at 402,700 t (-13.4%). A point of comparison: in January 2020, before the Covid pandemic, French production of paper and board stood at 594,900 t, i.e. 79,900 t more than in January this year. Will this trend last? The next few months will tell. V. L.